After Xinhua announced Tuesday that the former domestic security czar was being investigated for “severe violations of law,” China’s media began widely reporting on old rumors that previously would have been censored.
The hottest story has to do with the claim that Zhou assassinated his first wife so that he would be free to marry a beautiful second wife who was 28 years his junior.
Jia Xiaoye interviewed Zhou Yongkang in 1999 for a China Central Television (CCTV) program in 1999. In 2001 they were married. Zhou was 58 and Jia 31.
At that time, Li Dongsheng was the vice president of CCTV. He was more recently the vice minister of China’s Ministry of Public Security and head of the Party office charged with persecuting the Falun Gong spiritual practice.
A longtime associate of Zhou’s, Li was investigated by the Chinese Communist Party disciplinary body in December 2013 and purged from the CCP on June 30, as Party Central has continued targeting Zhou’s former cronies and subordinates.
At CCTV, Li was notorious for using beautiful, young TV hostesses to bribe officials with sex, according to Waican Magazine, which is published by the overseas Chinese language media company Mingjing. According to the rumors now being widely spread in China’s media, Jia was one of those beauties.
Other rumors say that CCTV’s hostesses are now being scooped up in the ongoing “anti-corruption” campaign.
In 2009, Li, who had no background in public security, was promoted to become the vice minister of Public Security and the head of the 610 Office, which persecutes Falun Gong. Speculation in society said that Li’s promotion happened with the help of Zhou, who from 2007 to 2012 headed the Political and Legal Affairs Committee (PLAC), the Party instrument that used to oversee almost all parts of the legal and domestic security systems (after General Secretary Xi Jinping took power in 2012, the role of the PLAC was downgraded).
Very little information about Jia is available on the Internet, and no confirmed photo of Jia can be found. The Hong Kong newspaper Apple Daily said all the online information about Jia was deleted after Zhou became head of the PLAC.
A source at CCTV told the Shanghai news website called The Paper that Jia left CCTV over 10 years ago, and her name has become a “legend” at CCTV.
Zhou’s ex-wife, Wang Shuhua, was killed in a car accident, soon after divorcing from Zhou in 2000, according to the news section of the mainland China website Tencent. Wang’s death has been referred to as a “mysterious accident,” with rumors saying that the car accident was plotted by Zhou.
Several retired workers at PetroChina where Zhou used to work told the Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV station that Wang was killed in Beijing by a car with a military license plate.
After Wang’s death, Zhou’s younger son, Zhou Han, broke all relations with him. Rumors say that Zhou Han believes Zhou plotted to kill his mother. According to the mainland financial news website Gucheng.com, Zhou Han even refused to allow Zhou to see his grandson.